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Dark Puss

I have just read the short article by Oliver Burkeman and indeed I fish in a flowing river which is why I don't have a "to be read" pile. Of course I own a few books I have not read and I have access to tens of thousands of physical and electronic books via libraries that I am member of and which I won't read even the tiniest fraction of. That's fine and causes me no sleepless nights (I have other things for that). I know I am unusual amongst people who read/write weblogs about books, but I still don't understand the lure of having piles of unread books in a category called, somewhat aggressively, "TO BE READ!"


'Lure' is an interesting way to term it! What would I say in answer?
I used to have piles (or indeed shelves) of books firmly termed 'TBR' when I was doing much more reviewing than I do currently. It was quite overwhelming.
Nowadays I'm happy to have many unread books about me, pleased that I have a wide range to choose from according to inclination, glad also to have (in a small way) supported writers and shops by buying them. Despite my extensive collection, my wishlist numbers almost 1000 items, and I still love to browse and buy, but I've always enjoyed being surrounded by books (read or unread) and I acknowledge that I'm privileged to have that luxury and all that it means.

Christine Harding

I read your friend Sarah Salway's essay on literary picnics, and loved it. I'm so glad she included Ratty's picnic from Wind in the Willows. It remains my own favourite, though the one in Agnes Jekyll's Kitchen Essays runs it a close second, despite not really being literary. It includes (among other things) a hay-box for chunky hot soup, a Thermos full of mulled Claret stuffed salmon rolls, a Winter Cake, ‘black and sticky with treacle, enlivened by whole white almonds’, and a ‘little selection’ of desserts and sweets. She also recommends camp stools, a waterproof rug and furs!


Thank you for reminding me of Agnes Jekyll's book, Christine - I enjoyed it greatly!

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